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Trump's Try at GOP Unity Could Be Tripped Up By Convention-Skippers

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By    |   Monday, 30 May 2016 08:32 PM

High-profile Republicans skipping the party's convention this summer could put a dent in presumptive nominee Donald Trump's attempt to unite the party behind his candidacy, Fox News reports.

The list includes members of both the House and Senate as well as almost every living Republican presidential nominee, Fox notes.

Trump ran as a political outsider and surprised most political observers by actually capturing the nomination after leading the polls practically every week since announcing in June. But now that he has achieved the needed 1,237 delegates to win the nomination on the first ballot of the convention, he has worked to bring those he spoke out against back into the fold.

In some cases, that has worked. Florida Sen. Marco Rubio is the most recent of Trump's vanquished 2016 foes to announce his support. Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, retired surgeon Ben Carson, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and former Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal have jumped on board as well, though sometimes with reluctance.

But former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham have said they won't be there. And neither will Bush's brother George W. Bush and his father, George H.W. Bush, the two most recent Republican presidents.

Others cite tough re-election campaigns behind their need to stay home. They include New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte. Some such Republicans are expected to distance themselves from Trump much as Democratic Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill in 2012, who skipped that convention. She won re-election, though President Barack Obama lost the state to Republican Mitt Romney.

The New York Times reported earlier this month that Ward Baker, executive director of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, told senators they didn't have to attend.

The list of definite no-shows compiled by Fox also includes:
  • 2008 Republican presidential nominee and Arizona Sen. John McCain
  • 2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney
  • Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval
  • Wyoming Gov. Matthew Mead
  • Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake
  • Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski
  • Illinois Sen. Mark Kirk
  • Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson
  • Kansas Sen. Jerry Moran
  • Missouri Sen. Roy Blunt
If Trump isn't entirely successful in his efforts to unite the party, it might not matter that much, some observers say.

"Trump is a master entertainer and more than likely going to put together a convention program that attempts to highlight his strengths and sideline some of the major absences," said Republican strategist Ron Bonjean in an interview with FoxNews.com.

House Speaker Paul Ryan has yet to endorse Trump, though he will be at the convention – he'll be serving as the chairman during the nominating process.

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High-profile Republicans skipping the party's convention this summer could put a dent in presumptive nominee Donald Trump's attempt to unite the party behind his candidacy, Fox News reports.
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2016-32-30
Monday, 30 May 2016 08:32 PM
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